Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Outback Bowl vs. #19 Auburn

What a long, strange trip it's been. A season that started out with the perplexing McEvoy-over-Stave decision and ensuing LSU chokejob has ended with a new coach and a somewhat familiar date with an SEC opponent on New Year's Day. I'm not sure how we'll look back at this year down the road, but I do know that ending with a victory over Auburn will put a MUCH more positive spin on things. STRONG TAKE CITY.

But regardless of the outcome on Thursday, I enter the football offseason BRIMMING with optimism. GA - for all his faults - assembled a pretty impressive recruiting class this year. And almost all of them have reaffirmed their commitments in the wake of the coaching turnover. The staff will come together nicely, and frankly as long as they get a few guys who can recruit, it won't really matter much. Chryst and Aranda represent two of the most gifted coordinators we've seen. Offensive guru head coach with strong Wisconsin ties inherits young badass defensive whiz who has quickly established his system in Madison. That's a thing of beauty.

So enjoy the game on Thursday. The basketball team will take the spotlight starting on Sunday, but it's a long, long time until we can all gather around a bucket of curds to watch Sunshine sling us to victory. Offseasons suck. Let's have fun Thursday.

CHICAGO BADGERS: I know. I already feel the pain you feel. It's an 11 am game the morning after your respective New Year's Rager. No one ever said having fun was easy. But you're gonna suck it up. WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS, remember my IRONCLAD method to conquering a hangover:

  1. Slam water before bed. This is a must. Multiple glasses. Just do it.
  2. Take a scorching lava hot shower when you wake up. Roughly 10-10:15 am on Thursday should do the trick.
  3. Eat something magnificent. Fuck cereal. Bananas are BORING. You need real food and you need it immediately. If it's not bacon or something that could conceivably have bacon on/in/around it, then you need to rethink EVERYTHING.
  4. Listen to some Sugar Ray with extreme prejudice. I prefer a little 'Fly'/'Every Morning' medley.
By now you should be feeling more than good enough to get to Will's before kickoff and muscle that first giant beer down. Once you get the first bucket of beer in your gullet, it's all downhill from there. I feel like 'it's all downhill from there' has a negative connotation, but if you think about it, it's SO much better than it all being uphill from there. I'll gladly coast down a hill guzzling beers into the wee hours. Sounds like fun!



Thursday, December 18, 2014

Pre-Outback Bowl Mailbag

No shortage of things to talk about. Let's dive right in. Thank you for your questions.


Alison S:
What is wrong with Wisconsin?! My million dollar question is who will be our next head coach? Hopefully Aranda.
Well it was SUPPOSED to be me. Got my application and résumé in to Barry before the deadline, but I never heard back. Since Paul Chryst has already been announced as the 30th coach in Wisconsin football history, here's the application I sent Barry's way:
Mr. Alvarez, 
My name is Brandon Rifkin and I’d like to formally apply to be the next head football coach of the University of Wisconsin football team. What I may lack in actual football knowledge, I more than make up for in SPIRIT and the ease at which I would assimilate myself in the Madison culture. 
My football experience is vast and plentiful. Here are the highlights:
  • 1997 Camp Ojibwa Pineapple Football Champions. My responsibilities included snapping the ball (not between my legs, seems really hard), wrapping up (form tackling – flags are always moving), and trying not to cry when a power tripping 19 year old from Highland Park yelled at me for failing at wrapping up.
  • Two time Bayside Middle School/Maple Dale Middle School CHAMPION. This was basically the Wisconsin/Minnesota rivalry, minus the axe/plus puberty. NOTE: If you do a background check and hear about the kid who got shot in the neck with a firework at one of these games, I was TOTALLY not involved in that. NOTE #2: I rumbled on the O-Line, #Sconnie4Life
  • Made a really sweet one-handed interception in a UW-Madison intramural game one time. And it was my LEFT hand.
  • Dominated a pick-up football game on the front lawn of the Kohl Center while waiting for basketball tickets. Wasn’t even sober. Ran like the wind.
  • December 3rd, 2011. Wisconsin vs. Michigan State in the first ever B1G Championship. 4th quarter, 2nd and goal at the 5, down 6. I told EVERYONE I knew sitting by me that we were gonna run the shovel pass. I LOVE THE SHOVEL PASS. And what did Russell do? Ran a pitch-perfect (get it?) shovel pass to Montee. Six.
But there’s so much more to coaching football than football itself. How can you adequately evaluate me unless you really know me? And there’s no better way to know a person than to ask them what kinds of movies they like. So, let’s keep this relevant. Coach Rif’s Top 5 Favorite Football Flicks:
  1. Remember The Titans. I’m all about diversity, and moving players around to find their best position, and STRONG SIDE
  2. Sleepers. Not a football movie, you say? OH HO HO, I challenge you to find a more satisfying victory than the boys beating the guards and Rizzo giving his LIFE for victory. That’s the kind of motivation I aim to employ.
  3. The Blind Side. I start to salivate thinking about what we could do with a kid like Michael Oher. GOTTA COME TO O-LINE U, KIDDO.
  4. The Replacements. I have an idea for a new movie. It’s called: THE WALK-ONS. And it’s all about how we’re gonna own the B1G with the best walk-on program this side of MILWAUKEE.
  5. Jerry Maguire. You see how much Jerry loved his players? And how, in turn, they believed in him and achieved success they could only DREAM of? Yeah. Let’s do dat.
As you can see, my heart and mind are in the exact right place to lead Wisconsin back to glory. Pound the rock on offense, Blitz B on defense, Wisconsin forever.


Coach Rif

PS – Can’t call myself Coach B for obvious reasons, people don’t forget.
Also had to update the old résumé:

After submitting, I realized I missed a letter in 'pizza'. Gonna assume UW handles résumés the same way the rest of the world does: grammatical mistake = automatic rejection. I'll be kicking myself over this for years. YEARS.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

B1G Championship vs. #5 Ohio State

I'm a big fan of callbacks. I love when some seemingly unimportant detail from the past is suddenly relevant and takes on a whole new meaning. Perhaps I'm being vague. Let's use an example:

That's a tweet from 2 years ago from some guy named Cardale Jones. At the time, he was just a no name idiot on the OSU football team tweeting out something funny that sports blogs used to fill the page during the day. Now? Now he's starting at quarterback for Ohio State in the B1G Championship Game.

That just kind of sums up this game, though. I have no inside information, but I firmly believe athletes at Wisconsin actually have to take care of the student part of student-athlete. I know several recruits they really wanted had to go elsewhere because they couldn't even get accepted at Wisconsin. I'm going to assume it's not the same kind of operation at Ohio State. Feels like we're going up against a football factory.

And that's what will make it all the sweeter when we emerge from Indy with ANOTHER B1G title. 4 in 5 years would be downright stupid. Wisconsin fans are for sure going to be outnumbered in Indy - OSU is still alive for the playoff - but that won't be the first time that's happened. And we've done alright in Indy in recent years.

Now let's go beat the shit out of the Buckeyes and grab some hardware.

CHICAGO BADGERS: THREAT LEVEL MIDNIGHT NIGHT GAME ALERT. I LOVE NIGHT GAMES! And this one is great because we get to watch the UW hoops team STOMP Marquette during the day, rest up, and THEN we all gather at Will's to rage for another B1G Championship. CAN'T WAIT. See ya there.



Thursday, November 27, 2014

#18 Minnesota

Kind of unfortunate that Thanksgiving and #HateWeek have to coincide. Last thing we should be doing this week is hating, but Minnesota is coming to town and this is the biggest UW/Minny game in at least a decade. That requires proper hating. I'm sorry, Swiftness.


Sure, I could point out (again) that the last time Minnesota beat Wisconsin in football YouTube wasn't invented yet. I could probably google up a bunch of fun little facts like that. But let's let the flagship @UWMadison and official @UWBuckyBadger Twitter accounts handle the burnage.

Okay I'm also distracted with the cuteness. NEEDS MORE HATE

Nothing better than grabbing some logs and building a nice fire this week. Eat it, Goldy.

Oh man, I love that for like a million reasons. Poor Kelsey Finger (terrible name) didn't even mention @UWMadison, and yet they came flying in out of nowhere to roast her brain. That's excellent hustle.

PS - Admittedly, all the alumni/alumna/alumnae/alumnus stuff is really confusing. Part of me felt kinda bad for Kelsey Fingerlinger but then the other part of me went back to laughing at this girl's mentions when the hot fire burn got retweeted like 200 times in her eyes.

PPS - Not a lot of love for Minnesota in the Google Game:

PPPS - I don't know if you've heard, but they're changing up the Axe procedure on Saturday:
The axe, a longtime symbol of the rivalry, will remain in the UW locker room until late in the game. Once it becomes clear which team will win, the axe will be placed in the end zone nearest the locker room of the winning team. UW's locker room is near the north end zone; Minnesota's locker room is near the south end zone.
This all stems from the game last year, when the Badgers (obviously) won and then went to chop down some Gopher goalposts - AS IS TRADITION. They waited for Minnesota to sing their lame ass fight song and then tried getting all lumbersexual on the field... only to have the pathetic Gophers HOLD THE LINE and prevent them from chopping. This is stupid. Things started getting heated, and it was about to be a full-on riot if some coaches didn't get in there and de-escalate.

So I'm guessing after we win on Saturday, we'll stand around and let the proper amount of time pass, allow Minnesota to go in the locker room, shower, board their bus, and then we'll gets to the chopping.

Fucking with tradition when you really don't need to. Not a fan.

CHICAGO BADGERS: Oh, hello Mr. 2:30 Game, nice to see you again. Unfortunately, Thanksgiving makes it tough to round up a crew. I'm sure people have retreated to their home bases. Enjoy your weekend, peoples.

IT'S THAT TIME OF THE YEAR: LAST CALL FOR MOVEMBER DONATIONS. True story: my boss was shocked and upset that I had more money raised than him. So if you donate, you can help me beat my boss! Wait, this sounds like the opposite of what I should be doing. You can donate HERE.



Thursday, November 20, 2014

at Iowa

This picture is amazing.

Well. Can't say I was expecting that to happen. Seriously, just look at this line:

That's absurd. On so many levels. That entire game was. 4 fumbles - 3 of them lost - in the first 20 minutes? Down 17-3? Rattling off 56 straight points against what was considered a good defense in a huge game with B1G title implications?

Hard to process. On the flip side, it's much easier to process how utterly dominant we are against Nebraska since they joined the B1G. The 3 wins have been absolute boneshows, and the one loss was in Lincoln and yeah we don't need to revisit how stupid that game was. But I love it all. Nebraska came into the B1G thinking they were just gonna push everyone around and plant their flag. LOL. That worked out real well.

The march to Indy continues.*

*Already dreading #conflictcity. UW/Marquette in Milwaukee that morning, B1G Championship Game in Indy that night, and sitting on tickets for Walk The Moon in Chicago that night as well. #firstworldproblems, coming in HOT.

PS - Love this x1000:

CHICAGO BADGERS: 2:30 GAME 2:30 GAME 2:30 GAME 2:30 GAME OH YEAHHHHH. THERE IS NOTHING BETTER. Well, there are several things better. Like night games and chocolate milk. But still! 2:30 GAME! Wasn't last week fun? I think it was a blast! Everyone was over their hangovers and having fun and we shook it off after the game like there was no shakemorrow. Let's do that all again!

IT'S THAT TIME OF THE YEAR: I've been thoroughly enjoying my co-workers discovering the #blondestache. Only at certain angles in certain lighting can you really tell what this abomination looks like. I HATE IT. Toothpaste gets stuck in it. It itches. It makes me look like someone you wouldn't let near your children, even though I am well above average at hanging with kids. I think it's because I easily get on their level. LEGOS? FUCK YEAH I CAN BUILD A BETTER CASTLE THAN YOU. Wrestling time? LOL, good luck, I'm gonna crush you. So, yeah, I'm in misery and you should donate to make it all worthwhile.



Thursday, November 13, 2014

#13 Nebraska

Do you want to know what my biggest problem is right now? I WISH I liked this T-$wift/Kendrick mash up more than I do. I wanted to love this. Anything 'Shake It Up' should be gold and then some. But WHOA look out, the Hood Internet (what is that) mash up has already been deleted off the internet! You want me to guess why? BIG RECORD LABEL caught wind of someone using 'Shake It Off' without giving them 104% of the proceeds and IMMEDIATELY issued a cease and desist. That's how the music industry works these days.

And that's why I'm STILL pissed at Taylor for excommunicating herself from Spotify. The CEO of Spotify absolutely nailed it with this post. Dear god, how many weeks can I lead with Taylor? This is downright crazy. I'm moving on. #luvuSwiftness

PS - Did deeper googling and apparently it's NOT actually removed from the internet. That's awesome! But if it were up to me, this is still a million times better:

I do not care what your thoughts are on this video. The energy alone carries this shit to the top. Only thing I would change is making them not dress like insane asylum escapees. And also I would let Kendrick swear because every time it cuts out for a naughty word I have to check my speakers to make sure they still work.

PS - It's probably weird that I get goosebumps from this jam, but I do.

PPS - Even after I wrote about it, I still checked my headphones cable to make sure it was plugged in when they censored for swear words. Ugh.

CHICAGO BADGERS: You know what? I think Will's is gonna be POPPIN' this weekend. It's a huge game, it's at 2:30, all signs point towards 'Shake It Off' blaring at 2:25 on Saturday and us raging until we beat those losers from Lincoln. I know things have been tame lately, but let's bring it back in a hurry. Football in the home stretch, LET'S DO THIS

IT'S THAT TIME OF THE YEAR: My #blondestache is disgusting and it's itchy and I hate it and you should donate so I can justify my existence. HERE you go. Thank you.



Thursday, November 6, 2014

at Purdue

Well. Ain't that some shit. Walking out my building Monday morning, I did what any warm blooded American male in his 20s would do: pulled out my phone, popped in the 'buds, and went to fire up some T-$wift. Every good day starts with shaking, something I've always believed. But what the fuck? 'Shake It Off' isn't in its usual place at the top of my favorites playlist. And it's not in my other playlists I've added it to. Hmmm. Maybe someone TAMPERED with my Spotify playlists. Domestic terrorism at its finest. NO WORRIES. I'll just search for Taylor... Sw... THERE SHE IS! BOOM, BACK IN THE GAME. Now I just star 'Shake It Off' and... wait. Where is 'Shake It Off'?! Where is all the Swiftness?

Predictably, I had basically the worst day of all-time. I don't even care that she removed her entire back catalogue. But shakeblocking me is way too much. Yeah, I get it: she makes more money off CD purchases and iTunes downloads, so removing from Spotify funnels people towards those avenues. But it also reminds me of everything I HATE about the music industry. Here I am, paying money for Spotify every month like a good little boy, and T-$wift just takes a dump in my face like I'm some dirty internet pirate.

Naturally, I cried on Twitter because I don't know any other way to cope with tragedy. Turns out, I wasn't alone:

Did Spotify Support just call me 'b'? Clearly everyone is rattled here. Yeah, we can always YouTube songs... but what about on the Red Line in the spooky tunnels when there's no service? What THEN?

Really been through an emotional Swift roller coaster these last few weeks. First I was down, then I was way up, now I'm rock bottom.

PS - Can I be the first one to point out that ripping your music from Spotify is SUCH a hate hate hater move?

CHICAGO BADGERS: Who's excited to start watching big hoops games at Will's? I AM I AM I AM. So far I've done a pretty good job of not gushing about the hoops team here - that will change. And soon. In case you didn't know, the season officially tips off next Friday. Big games are on the horizon. We are going to be so good. SO GOOD, SO GOOD

IT'S THAT TIME OF THE YEAR: MOVEMBER has arrived. Per usual, I'll be growing out my heinous attempt at a mustache. If you'd like to donate to support the #blondestache and everything it's doing to help men's health, feel free to click HERE and donate. I appreciate your generosity and care.



Thursday, October 30, 2014

at Rutgers

Observations from Madison:
  • CRANES EVERYWHERE. I love the people that cry about the city building itself up a little. 'GONNA LOSE THAT SMALL TOWN CHARM I LOVE'. Dumbest thing in the world. If you don't modernize, in 15 years every building looks like that really shitty little house that used to be across the street from Riley's/420. You do not want a city full of that shitty little house that used to be across the street from Riley's/420. Madison is all CUTTING EDGE with small town charm. That requires some new, hot looking buildings with rooftop pools and additional BBQ restaurants. Fucking love Madison 2.0.
  • One time not long ago I remarked that I loved when girls wore all those red/black flannels on gamedays. Someone quickly pointed out how absurdly Sconnie it is to find that look supremely attractive compared to the 'standard' gameday getups around the country. Touche. But still, hellllo.
  • The KK is still exactly what the KK has always been. A dungeon that people trick themselves into believing is the best bar on the planet. I'll never fully understand it. But I at least went with the flow and enjoyed myself because of the company, not because of the location. Plus, anytime two large people are basically having sex at the bar at like 7 PM, you can sit back and smile:

FYI her hand is up his shirt there. That giant man has a shirt held together by the two middle buttons, which is some kind of sorcery. It's also in the most visible part of the KK (front bar, right by the entrance). Eventually one of her friends came by and gave her the 'I think you're really drunk and should go home before you accidentally have sex on top of the bar and people take Snapchats of it, k hun?' speech. That's both the best and the worst friend possible. We may or may not have booed her.
  • Everyone knows that the REAL KK is the Karaoke Kid. I could not speak on Sunday or Monday because my voice was thrashed from belting out 'Sex on Fire', 'Since U Been Gone', and a million other hot jams. Karaoke Kid is just a strange little spot. It's basically a hallway of a bar that I think sells sake bombs and is owned by an old Asian lady (PERHAPS THE ASIAN FROM RILEY'S? perhapsnot) and has killer karaoke. Great way to be drunk and act out and not feel completely psycho.
  • Is it me or does every place with a parking lot now do OFFICIAL gameday parties? The fucking HONG KONG CAFE was throwing DOWN in their parking lot. Rocky's was one-in one-out just to booze there, let alone chew. I've never seen this before. Maybe I never walked down Regent in a sober enough mindset to appreciate it, but it's absolutely beautiful and glorious and Wisconsin that any property with a square foot of pavement is selling beer and playing music.
  • Speaking of music, fully on board with T-$wift Shake It Off. I don't think she's really that good of a singer, but if she can write hooks like that song then it doesn't even matter. Fucking danced my face off to that song all weekend at every opportunity possible. I wanna release a remix of it that just does the chorus again instead of the brutal white girl rap part. Damnit Taylor. Don't you remember what happens when you try to look too cool?

Oh fuck me, I'm hate hate hate hate hate hating aren't I? I'M SORRY T-$WIFT
  • The food at Camp Randall still sucks. Boring hot dogs. Plain brats. I finally found the ONE different stand that sold some sausage sampler platter and drunk Brandon was EXCITED. Meh. It was 3 interesting mini sausages on buns with no fun cheeses or sauces or toppings and oh god I just need Hot Doug's back in my life. Anyway, for a fucking state FAMOUS for the kind of food made for stadium concessions, Camp Randall gets 0 curds out of 10.
  • Asian Kitchen, still fire.
Good times, as always.

PS - If you think I've been doing anything other than listening to Shake It Off while shakewriting this entire section then you're out of your damn mind. If my friends from Will's are reading this, I think we know what the new pre-game song has to be. TIMBER OUT. T-$WIFT IN. #ONSHAKESCONSIN

CHICAGO BADGERS: Post-Halloween 11 AM gamedays really separate the men and women from the boys and girls. Don't be a boy or girl. Be a man or a woman.



Thursday, October 23, 2014


So I'm going up to Madison this weekend. I'll probably end up at Camp Randall for the game, and I'm sure I'll drink a million beers regardless of where I go. But on an email chain planning out the weekend, one of the guys tossed out going to L'Etoile Friday night for dinner. Couple problems with this in my mind:
  1. I've literally NEVER been to a restaurant with a name I can't pronounce and enjoyed myself.
  2. When I think of all the beautiful booze I could buy with that money, I start to tear up.
  3. I know for a fact that I would be SIGNIFICANTLY happier eating at Rocky's than I would eating at Frenchy McFrencherville's.
I'm aware that I'm in the minority for that. Everything dictates that because this is a really nice, fancy place with a chef that people have probably heard of, the experience would be OUT OF BOUNDS. But I don't dig on that. I'm also a firm believer that when you have a group of 8 bros, you don't need to spend every waking second of a weekend trip together. I have zero intention of preventing the group from feeding each other pan-seared scallops with asparagus puree and a sprinkling of deconstructed zucchini pasta HAND-CRAFTED by Chef Moinsoreé. If you get down on that, power to you.

But I'll be much happier with a fine Sausage pizza thrown in the oven by Chet, the sophomore from Janesville working the Friday night shift at the Rocky's on Regent. You can get fancy Maine lobster with buttercup squash beurre blanc ANYWHERE. Rocky's sausage is UNIQUE and not available in Chicago and therefore I WANT.

PS - It used to be 'How do you know you don't like it? You've never tried it!' Yeah well I've started trying all this fancy shit and I just don't like it. #TeamRockys4Life

PPS - Pretty sure for $20 you could eat like a king at Rocky's and drink like 5 beers. I don't know how anything could make more sense.

3xPS - If I make it through this entire weekend without getting Rocky's, I will be MOST

CHICAGO BADGERS: I think the LOFOMO (Law of FOMO) should make me want everyone to stay home and be boners since I'll be gone. But that's crazy. Go get your Wills on.



Thursday, October 9, 2014


UGH. Every inch of that game was exactly the miserable experience I expected. It wouldn't be a trip to Evanston without shitty weather, a sloppy game, overeager nerds, and a final score that makes you wonder how it was all possible. How does a team with Melvin Gordon rushing for 259 yards on 27 carries only score 14 points? How does a team that rushed 25 times for 50 yards the week before go off for 203 yards against what was a stout Wisconsin defense? How did Gary Andersen and Andy Ludwig watch Tanner McEvoy throw the ball during fall camp and decide that HE would be the starting quarterback? Oh, I know the answer to that last one! "We want a mobile quarterback who can make plays with his feet."

WELL THEN MAYBE YOU SHOULD CALL PLAYS THAT UTILIZE HIS ABILITY TO MAKE PLAYS WITH HIS FEET. Read options, options, rollouts, bootlegs... you know, plays where a mobile quarterback can actually be lethal? Why don't we do any of that? Instead, we get a mobile quarterback with 1 rushing attempt for 8 yards and 10 passing attempts for 24 yards. That is on the coaches. It's not McEvoy's fault that he can't throw the damn ball. It's Andersen's and Ludwig's fault that they put him back there and asked him to be a standard pocket passer. NOT HIS STRENGTH. Here's what I saw in that Northwestern game (I was drunk and haven't re-watched it and have no desire to do so):

  • MGIII would be a top 3 Heisman contender if Stave was named the starter before the LSU game. I STILL maintain we would've beaten LSU, and no way were we going to lose to Northwestern if Stave had 4 games and 5 weeks of practice with the 1's, as opposed to coming in cold off the bench at halftime after being mentally mind-fucked by one of the worst decisions Wisconsin coaches have made in a long time. I have no idea what other kinds of mind-fucking there are, but this was a deep mental mind-fuck on Stave. Regardless, MGIII has 871 rushing yards with 7 regular season games to go. To get to 2,000 yards before a hypothetical B1G Championship Game (LOL) or mid-card bowl game (SEC boning, coming right up), he'd need to average 161 yards a game. Illinois/Maryland/@Rutgers/@Purdue/Nebraska/@Iowa/Minnesota. I'm not betting against it.
  • Stave's 4th quarter touchdown drive. Small victory, but he made two throws that McEvoy would stand no chance of making. Given how rusty he is, those two throws alone are enough to confirm what I've known for a while: Sunshine gives us our best chance at winning football games.
  • Schoolbus drinking. Big ups to Will's on filling TWO schoolbuses, allowing for maximum schoolbus drinking. Haven't been wasted on a schoolbus in a long time. Felt good.

  • That Gaglianone field goal attempt. You might think it should be 'ugly' given how badly he missed it, but attempting a field goal from that distance, on that field, in those conditions... well, it was just a stupid plan to begin with. And if you want to call Gaglianone ugly, then you're an idiot.
  • In the second half, with Stave at the helm, we won 14-10. Maybe this should be under 'good'!

  • 4 Wisconsin turnovers, 0 Northwestern turnovers. That we almost came back and stole that game was incredible. You literally never deserve to win a game with the turnover margin that lopsided. Stave's goal line pick was one of the single worst decisions a quarterback can make. The playcalling was probably worse: 1st and goal from the 3 and you have the best running back in the country. Give him the rock. 4 times in a row if you have to. And if you ARE going play-action, then the call is either 'dump to the wide open guy or THROW IT THE F AWAY'. Everything about that sequence was god-awful.
  • Speaking of turnovers, our quarterbacks get ZERO help from their receivers. Stave threw some decent deep balls, and even McEvoy's pick wasn't that bad (idk, again, drunk). But if the receivers are content sitting there waiting for the ball to get to them, then they're also content watching the other team make plays on the ball and making me want to cry. Get up there, high point it, and make a damn play. Big area of concern coming into the season being validated right in front of our sad eyes.
  • The rushing defense. Just, ugh.
  • Playcalling balance. Any time MGIII racks up 260 yards on 10 yards a carry, YOU SHOULD NOT BE THROWING THE BALL MORE THAN YOU'RE FEEDING HIM. In what galaxy do you expect to get 10 yards per passing attempt with this offense? I don't care about time or situation: if you have no passing game to speak off, then you feed your Heisman-caliber running back who was in the midst of ripping their defense apart, one first down at a time.

There are probably 17 more 'uglies'. I'm over this game. Hate it. Done with it. Don't like its face.

 I'm sure the turnout at Will's for an 11 AM game on the heels of the debacle in Evanston will be super. This is my yearly reminder that yes, even as shitty as they look, you'll YEARN for these gamedays once they're gone. Don't let a silly little thing like a hangover hold you back. Chug water, pass out, scalding hot shower, greasy food, Sugar Ray, BOOM, no more hangover. It's worked for centuries.



Thursday, October 2, 2014

at Northwestern

"I feel a lot better than I did about a month ago," [Stave] said. "Obviously, everything around that time was pretty emotional for me. I was upset and frustrated and everything that goes along with it. That's something that I had to work through, but I feel like I did a good job with that."


"He's starting to look like the old Stave getting his confidence back," Badgers wide receiver Kenzel Doe said after Tuesday's practice. "You definitely see him in more team reps. You can tell he's starting to get that confidence back, and he's starting to throw the ball like he used to."


"If things start to go bad or Tanner gets hurt, through this whole thing I've prepared mentally like I always would," Stave said. "I've watched film, taken notes and done what I need to do to feel like I have a good enough feel for the defense. So just continue to do that. If my number is called, then I'll be ready to go." (via)

Listen, we've seen the Tanner McEvoy show. It IS pretty cool having a 6'6 quarterback who can run and juke and take a hit. But it's kind of a lot cooler having a quarterback who can throw the ball with at least a TINY chance of hitting the receiver. Too many times we've seen McEvoy miss WIDE OPEN receivers. That's probably the most frustrating part: those 'layups' that Andersen is so adamant about completing are being missed with glaring inaccuracy. I will ALWAYS believe that if Stave was named the starter for the LSU game, he never would've gotten the shanks, and we would've won that game.

That's why I'm hoping Stave can get his head on straight and work his way back up the depth chart. This offense will NOT be able to thrive against Nebraska, Iowa, and maybe not even against Northwestern this weekend if it's purely one dimensional. Our running game is our bread and butter, but without the play-action throw as a viable threat, we're going to hit troubled waters. I do not like troubled waters.

So keep on keepin' on, Stave. It may be cloudy now, but the sunshine will poke through soon enough. Please.

CHICAGO BADGERS: Well, how about that? Will's IS providing bus transportation to the Northwestern game this Saturday. The tentative plan is to leave Will's around noon, get dropped off near the stadium, and then bus on back after the game. Price will be $25 and include beer on the bus. If you're interested, send me names. Also, if you have extra tickets to the game itself, let me know.



Friday, September 26, 2014

South Florida

Let's start with this:

Hmmmm. Okay:

So we're clear: Auggie Sanchez is convinced that the South Florida Bulls are going to come up to Madison and silence 82,000 fans. And he's convinced this will happen in South Florida's first road game of the year (they've played 4 home games), after they lost two home games in front of crowds slightly larger than the UW student section.

Idk, but maybe we shouldn't jump to conclusions. WHO IS Auggie Sanchez?

Woof. But you know what? Actions speak louder than pictures. I bet Auggie is an integral member of the machine that is the South Florida football team. LET'S INVESTIGATE:

Nope. Perhaps when you grew up in Florida, and you're a redshirt freshman fullback, and there's not even any evidence that you've gotten on the field yet this year, and you've never played in a D1 college football game outside of your home stadium... you should keep your mouth shut on media day.

For the record, I am not oblivious to the fact that I am kinda running my mouth from the comfort of my keyboard. POINT STILL STANDS

PS - Auggie? Is that short for August? Agusto? No way Auggie's the birth name.

CHICAGO BADGERS: Who all thinks Will's should get a school bus to transport people to and from the Northwestern game in two weeks say YEAH

(They should.)

(I really like boozing on school buses. Is that weird?)

(School bus should be one word.)



Thursday, September 18, 2014

Bowling Green & Mini-Mailbag

"WHOA HEY, why wasn't there a mailbag last week?"

VALID QUESTION. And since I don't embrace excuses, I'm going to work the solution. MINI MAILBAG before we get to Bowling Green. VAMOS

Marissa R:

How many spiders do you think there are in the world? 
Oh, fuck you. Do you REALLY want to know how many spiders there are in the world? Or do you just want to inject nightmare fuel into my brain by forcing me to google every inch of the interwebs? SPIDER PUN.

You know the first thing I learned?

I feel like Morpheus when Neo told him the prophecy was a lie. I DON'T BELIEVE THAT.

But I dug deeper. Deeper into the spiderhole. WORST HOLE EVER. According to some dude who loved spiders way too much back in 1973, there was an average of 130.8 spiders per square meter. Okay, now we're getting somewhere. There's also 148.94 million square kilometers of land on earth (we're ignoring the 70% of the earth covered in water since everyone knows that a spider in water is just an octopus). But wait, shouldn't we subtract out Antarctica and the North Pole since Penguins and Santa would never fuck with spiders? Oh, we can't do that because there are these alleged SEA SPIDER MONSTERS that live in those places.

I tried converting square meters to square kilometers, and that sucked. And then I tried going from 148.94 million square kilometers to square meters, and THAT sucked even more. Google's giving me numbers with an 'e' in it. Do you really think I remember how to use 'e's in numbers? I DO NOT.

CONCLUSION: At any given time, on any piece of land in this world, LOOK OUT THERE'S A SPIDER ON YOUR FOOT. THERE ARE ELEVENTY BILLION SPIDERS ON EARTH and 12 of them live in your apartment; I hope you can't sleep at night. You shouldn't eat after 8 PM, and that includes the 14 spiders you eat in your sleep every year.

PS - 'I don't get why people hate spiders; they eat other bugs!'

-The worst person in the conversation, every time

Danny G:
Situation: Your job gives you 1 year off work, with pay. The only stipulation is that you need to spend all 365 days living in Madison, WI. What do you do to take full advantage of this situation? I’m looking for where you choose to live, what your weekly agenda looks like, etc. FYI, you are the only one who gets this 1-year sabbatical, so you can’t just bring a bunch of your Chicago friends with you.
Let's get the obvious out of the way: I'm immediately getting season tickets to basketball, football, and hockey. Being in Madison for a year without my friends means I'm gonna need any and all forms of entertainment. Plus I could go to the football games early and try to give Stave advice on how to get rid of the shanks! 'QUIT THINKING ABOUT THE GIRL, JOEL. IT'S ALL IN YOUR HEAD'

As far as a living situation goes, I want to strike that balance of close to everything cool... but far enough away from students that I don't feel old as shit every day when I walk out my door. I wouldn't live down by the Capitol, since that's TOTES an old person move. And that's far as fuck away from Camp Randall. Maybe somewhere like Regent and Charter? That's in between the Kohl Center and Camp Randall, not on the main stretch of campus, and ROCKY'S. Rocky's proximity might trump everything else. That's clutch proximity.

The weekly agenda gets tough. I don't really have any friends when I start this sabbatical, so I think the first step is to join some clubs so I can meet some people in the 26-30 bucket. Is there like a beer drinking, sports watching, terrace sitting club? Adult Hoofers? Should I go to Epic and pretend to work there just to see where they all go? This is really the most important part: without some friends, shit would be boring. Don't get me wrong, AMAZING boring, but still boring. So that would be my top priority.

I can get cute and tell you that I would go to the arboretum or do other adulty nerdy things, but I'd probably just drink and eat my way into an early grave. A one year paid sabbatical in Madison is a DANGEROUS thing for a single guy with a big appetite.


Shirt tucked in or not?
I think the older you get, the more likely you are to tuck your shirt in. This is problematic, because the older you get, the fatter you get. And nothing makes you look fatter than tucking a shirt in. That's it. That's the #1 way to look fat. Forget all that nonsense about horizontal stripes. Unless you have a flat stomach (die), tucking in your shirt just screams out 'HEY LOOK AT MAH GUT'.

Obviously, you have to tuck your shirt in in SOME situations. These are mine:

  • Any shirt with dress pants, but NOT with khakis
  • Playing soccer or basketball, for the first 5 minutes until you realize you don't care because you're playing a sport
Wait I think those are literally the only times I ever tuck my shirt in. If it's a button down shirt with dress pants or during an organized sporting event. I never tuck my shirt into jeans. That's insane. I think if Obama came to my office on a day when I was wearing jeans and a button down, I would MAYBE think about tucking. But then Barack would know I was fat. CONUNDRUM.

SHOULD I have been tucking my polos in to my khakis all these years? Probably. But that shit's uncomfortable. It traps heat. It bunches. And you can't forget a belt and get away with it if you're a tucker. What happens that one random day you forget to wear a belt? You just go untucked? How do you explain that to people? Better to go untucked 365 days a year, so that on that fateful Tuesday in October that you leave your apartment beltless, NO ONE KNOWS.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Western Illinois

I have absolutely no idea what's going on.

As I sat down to start writing this, Andersen called a press conference to address Joel Stave's status. Is he hurt? WAS he hurt? If he's not hurt, why isn't he playing? Is he shut down? The answers to all of these questions have varied. He was practicing leading up to the LSU game, so he couldn't have been hurt. But then reports came out saying that he WAS hurt, and that his shoulder was bothering him. But NOW we're being told that he's NOT injured, and he just has a wicked case of the shanks.

In other words, this was our quarterback in practice last week:

And this was our quarterback warming up before the LSU game:

I'll spare you a thousand words on the Tanner/Roy McEvoy connection. Allow me just to say that I'm depressed that I had to use TWO Tin Cup videos for such dire circumstances.

But this wasn't all just limited to Sunshine. I haven't even mentioned the MGIII debacle. His is similar to Stave's, just kind of in reverse: first he WAS hurt with a little hip flexor thing, then he WASN'T hurt and just had some kind of misunderstanding with the coaching staff, but now maybe he does have an itty bitty hip flexor thing? CHRIST. What in the fuck is actually going on in Madison?

I like Gary Andersen. He seems like a genuinely good guy. He seems like he really knows football - especially on the defensive side of the ball. He seems like he's a pretty good recruiter, and it even seems like players enjoying playing for him. But I no longer trust him. There's simply not any good reason to believe the words that come out of his mouth going forward. It's really not that damning of an indictment - coachspeak is a thing for a reason. Coaches have all sorts of motivation to be coy and play games of semantics. I understand that. And if he was doing it to protect his players, then I suppose it's rather admirable. I guess I just thought we had a straight shooter at the helm. That is no longer the case.

With that said, here's what I saw in the LSU shitshow:

  • MGIII ain't afraid of SEC speed. Averaging almost 9 yards a carry is impressive against Southeast Oklahoma Tech A&M. Doing it against LSU? That's damn near incredible. The 63-yard scamper was a thing of beauty, but also a sign that perhaps he was a little dinged up. True, he didn't take the best angle, but I have a hard time believing a fully healthy MGIII gets caught from behind that easily. Minor quibble - when he was in the game, he was a force.
  • Reggie Love is making me look smart. I've whiffed on my breakout players for like 4 straight years, so you'll have to excuse me if I'm momentarily a little proud of myself for giving Love some... love here. That Jet Sweep was executed PERFECTLY.
  • That rebuilt front 7 actually looked pretty good while it was healthy. In fact, they looked REALLY good while healthy. LSU didn't really have much cooking on offense. They burned us deep on one play when our true freshman safety took a brutal angle, but otherwise LSU really didn't do a damn thing offensively on us... until the injuries happened. Zags and Herring went down, and THEN the Tigers started moving the ball with conviction. I remain optimistic on this defense.
  • Michael Caputo is a monster. He made every single tackle AND recovered a fumble. The defense still has some question marks, but he is not one of them. HUGE year coming.
  • #GAGLIANONE. I tried to tell you how much you were gonna love this kid. I have a feeling el gato is now officially out of el bago. Forget for a second the 51-yard field goal that he KILLCRUSHED. Let us enjoy:


Man. I can't get enough of that. What a marvelous individual.

In fact, let's see that again, in SLOW MOTION:


Thursday, August 28, 2014

#13 LSU



I like game week. Game week means the days of 95% humidity are drawing to an end. Game week means oh my god why am I even trying to get cute with this; we have a fucking football game on Saturday. And it's not just ANY old football game. Wisconsin football season openers, last 10 years:

2004: UCF
2005: Bowling Green
2006: @ Bowling Green
2007: Washington State
2008: Akron
2009: Northern Illinois
2010: @ UNLV
2011: UNLV
2012: Northern Iowa
2013: UMass

Every year, we've eased into the season like an old man into a nice warm bath. But did that collection of weak games temper our excitement? Of course not. And if we got worked up over Bowling Green and Northern Iowa, well, you can probably guess how things are gonna go on Saturday when we take the field in Houston against an SEC powerhouse. I don't think I'm being hyperbolic when I say this will basically be a bowl game atmosphere wherever you're watching. Simple math:

Night game + season opener + elite SEC opponent + hot garbage schedule for the rest of the season = this is it, folks.

Don't even bother trying to pace yourself. If you're planning on saving up for some future gameday, you're going to regret it. The hype machine is working overtime and it is completely justified.


CHICAGO BADGERS: If you show up at Will's after 6 pm and get frustrated about a line, you have no one to blame but yourself. Settle in early, have some dinner, guzzle a few beers, play some games, live the high life. Literally nowhere else you should be or anything else you should be doing.

I STILL WANT YOUR REFERRALS: Is this your first time reading the BP? Have you just been lazy before and not emailed me with your friends' email addresses? I don't embrace excuses. Send 'em over.

LET'S go!





From Wiki:
LSU Athletics is represented by its mascot, a live Bengal tiger named Mike the Tiger. LSU is only one of two institutions of higher education in the United States to have a live tiger as their mascot; the other is the University of Memphis. The tiger was named after Mike Chambers, LSU's athletic trainer in 1936, and was bought for $750 from the Little Rock Arkansas Zoo.
Important things first: $750 in 1936 is a little under $13,000 today. That still seems pretty cheap for a real tiger. Tigers should cost around a million dollars in my mind. If you're gonna buy some rare, verge-of-extinction jungle cat, you should need boatloads of money. Wisconsin should be able to get a clan of real live badgers for like $800 according to this logic. Maybe LSU just FLEECED the Little Rock Arkansas Zoo. For some reason, I do not have much faith in whoever was in charge of sales at the Little Rock Arkansas Zoo in 1936. I'm pretty sure humans were wrastling bears for entertainment in those days. Could probably buy a bear from the LRAZ for $50 and tickets to a silent picture.

Also, a quick google search reveals that there are not many animal sales positions in zoos these days. FOR SHAME

PS - 

In 2005, a new $3 million Mike the Tiger Habitat was created for Mike between Tiger Stadium and the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. Its amenities include lush plantings, a waterfall, a flowing stream that empties into a wading pond, and rocky plateaus. The habitat has, as a backdrop, an Italianate tower - acampanile - that creates a visual link to the Italianate architectural vernacular of LSU's campus.

I have questions:
  • Do jungle cats wade?
  • When Mike VI dies, will they change it to classical Greek architecture if Mike VII thinks the Italianate architectural vernacular is a little much?
  • Is everyone comfortable with nothing but some batting cage nets keeping a jungle cat from eating their faces?
  • That get-up really cost $3 million?
That last part doesn't make any sense to me. I can guarantee Mike would rather have this playpen for a meager TWO million bucks:

All you'd have to do is throw some netting around that thing and it would be tiger-proof. I'm guessing the Italianate tower costs $1.75 million itself. Mike's getting shafted and he doesn't even know it.